A bipartisan coalition of 16 House Members has introduced legislation calling for increasing fuel economy (CAFE) standards by 32%—from the current level of 25 mpg to 33 mpg over the next 10 years.
Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are the sponsors of the bill.
[Hurricane Katrina] also exposed how vulnerable we remain to high gas prices and disruptions in our oil supply. It laid bare our comfortable indifference to an inefficient transportation sector, and it swept away the illusion that a successful business strategy for automakers is to bet the farm on gas-guzzlers and simply pray for eternally low gas prices.—Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)
The original cosponsors of the Boehlert-Markey bill include Representatives Todd Platts (R-PA), John Lewis (D-GA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chris Shays (R-CT), Brad Miller (D-NC), Jim Leach (R-IA), John Olver (D-MA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Hilda Solis (D-CA), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), and Ray LaHood (R-IL).
Raising the miles-per-gallon standard is the greatest no-brainer issue in Congress. Domestically, it is the most logical way to counter high gasoline prices and constrain environmental degradation. Internationally, American national security requires that we reduce petroleum usage. It is costly to defend the seaways, and because dependence on foreign oil jeopardizes our sovereignty, it makes recourse to war too tenable.—Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA)
The bill would allow the Secretary of Transportation to establish separate standards for different size vehicles, as long as the overall average of the fleet is at least 33 mpg. This would allow the Secretary to implement a size-based system similar to the Administration’s proposal for reforming light-truck fuel economy standards. The Secretary would also be authorized to establish a credit trading program between manufacturers.
(A hat-tip to Greg Thornwall!)